Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Archive for the month “May, 2013”

Fish sauce… on wings!

I was going to write about fish sauce and all of its awesomeness but I’m going to save that for another post when I have more time. But! It lead me to thinking about this awesome chicken wing recipe that involves fish sauce; so I’m going to share it with you.

OK, at first when you hear fish sauce wings, it sounds pretty gross but trust me these wings are amazing. I tried them at Pok Pok in Portland a few years ago and immediately thereafter I sought out the recipe. Now I try to cook them up whenever I can. They are also very good for any occasion/season.

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup Asian fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, 2 crushed and 2 minced
  • 3 pounds chicken wings, split at the drumettes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint

What you’ll then need to work your magic on:

  1. In a bowl, whisk the fish sauce, sugar and crushed garlic. Add the wings and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 3 hours, tossing the wings occasionally.
  2. Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a small skillet. Add the minced garlic; cook over moderate heat until golden, 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
  3. In a large pot, heat 2 inches of oil to 350°. Pat the wings dry on paper towels; reserve the marinade. Put the cornstarch in a shallow bowl, add the wings and turn to coat. Fry the wings in batches until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels and transfer to a bowl.
  4. In a small saucepan, simmer the marinade over moderately high heat until syrupy, 5 minutes. Strain over the wings and toss. Top with the cilantro, mint and fried garlic and serve.

This is what I ended up with:Image

Please be careful when working with hot oil!

I like my wings on the more crispy side so I left them in a couple minutes longer. I served mine with a side of jasmine rice and some pickled carrots and daikons. I hope you enjoy them as I did!

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Great ramen in Williamsburg

ImageI have had Ramen almost every night this week! It is one of my favorite things. I would like to share one place in particular that really stood out. Not only because the food was amazing but the atmosphere as well! 

Suzume in Williamsburg located at 545 Lorimer street has won my heart and my money. Walking in it’s quite small but theres ample seating and the people running it are friendly and fast. The lighting is low, but just enough to see your friends and your food. Just the way I like it.ImageMy selection was Spicy butter tofu ramen. Sounds like it tastes. They had me at Butter. The tofu was crispy and the broth was not to heavy. Portions are just enough so you don’t feel like the good year blimp when your’e done. Some of the other Ramen they have includes….

-Suzume Ramen- with braised berkshire pork belly, scallion and an organic poached egg. 

-Roasted salmon Ramen- with spicy miso broth, scallion and wakame. 

Hope you get down there 🙂 I cant wait to try everything on the menu!!! 

-Enjoy!!!- 

If you have pictures of food tattoos or a great recipe you would like to share please email us at knivesandkneedles@gmail.com!

 

 

Joey The Kid

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Joey is a cool guy with a bright future. He is a young tattoo artist at Strong Tattoo in sunny San Jose but don’t let that fool you, Joey the Kid is coming up fast! Joey just graduated high school, has already been tattooing a year (I wish I‘d started cooking that early!) AND is getting ready to head off to college in the fall!

Needless to say he is one busy dude so I quickly sat down with him and picked his final-exams-ridden brain about food and what he likes to eat. Joey also gave me a couple killer recipes that I shared at the end of this blog, what a guy!

… So read on!

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M: Tell me a little bit about your background.

J: So here’s a little bit about my background. I grew up and currently live in beautiful San Jose, California. Throughout most of my life I have always been intrigued by art and tattooing from being surround by the culture. Ever since I have been very grateful for the opportunities of having to meet and become friends with some really great artists at State of Grace. In 2006 my father started strong tattoo, at the time both strong tattoo and state of grace were at the same location, right next to 45’s forever. Strong didn’t get life until state of grace moved out in 2006 where it was Venjamin Jimenez and Dan Moses. Having the opportunity to become a tattoo artist I decided to take a stand and begin my tattooing career. I did my first tattoo ever on my self in August of 2012, a simple rose on my leg and since then I’ve been nonstop.

M: Right on! So how long have you been tattooing now?

J: I can say I’ve been tattooing about a year now. I’m very thankful for he opportunity of being able to be surrounded by the great artist at Strong Tattoo and for the family at State Of Grace

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M: What do you usually like to cook?

J: When I cook I don’t have a wide variety of foods I make but the variety I do have is one I like a lot. Most of the time I usually will be making burritos of some sort. The types of burritos are eggs and bacon, chorizo and eggs and of course beans and cheese. I do like to make other things besides burritos like pancakes and French toast.

M: Are you a picky eater?

J: When I was younger I used to be a very picky eater; I only stuck to the same food over and over. I guess I grew out of that stage of being picky and wanted to try something new. I now try to eat whatever I can and am always looking for a good meal to eat.

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M: Its good to expand your horizons! So what do you usually eat at work?

J: At work my diet isn’t exactly the best. Most of the time you will catch me eating a five-dollar Little Caesar’s Hot and Ready Pizza. I try to go out and get a sandwich but I’m always going for that pizza.

M: Haha! Do you admire any chefs?  If so, who?

J: I don’t really have any top chefs but I do love my friends and family’s meals. My grandparents are always cooking up great Mexican food that I can’t resist and my pops is in love with his new smoker and is always putting racks of ribs on the table, I can’t complainant all.

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M: Do you have any advice for those future foodies out there that may have some reservations about strange foods?

J: Some advice I have for those foodies is just to eat everything and anything. There are so many different types of food out there and you don’t want to miss out on anything.

Joey’s recipes, try them out!

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Recipe 1

Mint Mojito iced coffee

Ingredients

– Fresh mint

– 1/3 cup coffee preferably Philz Tesora

– 1/4c Creamer in Sweet Cream flavor

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The directions

– Add about 10 mint leaves into the bottom of your cup and smash them with a spoon to get the mint flavor

– Add ice cubes

– Add 1/3 cup of coffee

-Add 1/4c creamer

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– Now enjoy 🙂

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Recipe 2

Oreo truffles

Ingredients

– Half a bag of Nestlé white chocolate

– About a row of Oreos

– 1/3 of plain cream cheese

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The Directions

-Crush 1 row of Oreos In a zip lock Baggie until crumbles

-Mix crushed Oreos with 1/3 of cream cheese

– Roll mixed Oreos and cream cheese in small balls then put in freezer for 10 minutes

– Microwave 1/2 a bag of white chocolate in a bowl until melted

-Take Oreos out of freezer and dip them into white chocolate until they are completely covered

– Let truffles dry for 10 minutes then enjoy:)

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Thank you so much, Joey, that Oreo recipe looks decadent as hell!

*If you have a recipe or food tattoo you would like to share, email us at knivesandneedles@gmail.com

We would love to share you work, from the kitchen or from the studio!!

Have a great day : )

Photos courtesy of Joey the Kid

Tattoo Tuesday!

Ryan Davidson gave us this rad sandwich for Tattoo Tuesday!

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“Rob Nuñez did it back in 2006. Was my last day as the shop guy at HB Tattoo, and I wanted a food tattoo from him. He asked me what I liked to eat, I said ‘chicken sandwiches’, and that was it.”

Thanks, Ryan!

If you have a food tattoo you’d like us to show on Knives and Needles, email a photo of it along with artist credit and a little back story to knivesandneedles@gmail.com

Stan Moore

Happy Monday everybody! Today I have a killer interview with chef Stan Moore done by my friend Eiland Hogan of Forever Tattoo out of Sacramento, so….

Read on!!

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Stan Moore chef Interview

By Eiland Hogan

 E:  What’s your name and where are u from? How old are u?

S: My name is Stan I’m from Stevenville Texas 2 hours south of Dallas I’m 37

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E: How long have u been cooking professionally? Were do u currently work?

S: I’ve been cooking 20 years… And currently work at taste in Plymouth, CA

 

E: Where are some of your favorite restaurants you’ve worked at?

S: The Kitchen (which is Sacramento’s nicest restaurant) and the water boy …

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E: Who inspired you to start cooking?

S: My mom…. I hated her cooking…. Lol!!! But seriously

 

E: Did you go to culinary school?

S: No

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E: Have you traveled for work?

S: I went to New York for the James Beard…. It’s the highest achievement to do in America … (America’s Michelin Star)

 

E: Where would be your food paradise?

S: Vietnam 

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Tattoo questions

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E: When was the first time you saw a tattoo?

S: I was 8 years old… It was a death before dishonor… Eagle globe and anchor… On my uncle…I was a disgruntled youth… So I was basically hooked from there and couldn’t wait to get tattooed

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E: Who inspired you to get a tattoo?

S: I just always wanted to…. Maybe because I couldn’t join the service? 

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E: What artist’s did most of your tattoos?

S: Eric Hogan your brother… And mostly all the guys at American Graffiti in Sacramento… Wrath…Tycho Veldhoen…. Rob Hostetter…and the rest of the guys

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E: Who’s next on your list to get tattooed by… Or who is doing amazing work these days

S: I’ve always wanted to get tattooed by Scott Sylvia …. An 8 legged Viking or something from Chad Koeplinger would be rad.

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Photos courtesy of Stan Moore and Eiland Hogan

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If you have a recipe or food tattoo you would like to see up on knives and needles blog, email us at knivesandneedles@gmail.com

We would love to share your work, food or tattoos!

Grilled chicken and brussel sprouts with spring avocado salad

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Recently I escaped New York to the woods of Massachusetts for a little R&R with my family. Although I didn’t bring my eyepatch I did bring a bunch of fresh food! After all the kids went to bed my sister and I made an awesome late night dinner for two.

Ingredients

-3/4 lb brussel sprouts halved

-2 chicken breasts

-1 heirloom tomato

-1 ripe avocado

-fresh basil

-sea salt

-pepper

-balsamic glaze or vinaigrette

-olive oil

First marinade chicken then place on the grill for 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the cut. If you have a meat thermometer it should be done at 165 degrees if boneless. 170 degrees if on the bone. If you don’t have a meat thermometer then cut into the thickest part of the chicken  away from the bone. If the meat is opaque and the juices are clear then it is done.

Put brussel sprouts on a baking sheet with tin foil and drizzle with olive oil. Place in the oven on 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Then salt and pepper to taste.

Slice tomato and avocado. Add basil (Wash with cold water or a damp paper towel first if not pre rinsed). Arrange it however you like! I like to arrange it so every bite has some of everything. then drizzle some balsamic over it.

Knife Care!

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What would knivesandneedlesblog be without a blog on knife care? Anyone who cooks knows how important it is to have a clean, sharp knife. I personally think the better you treat your knife, the better the knife will treat you. And that can mean the difference between ending your night cozy in your house or in pain in the emergency room. So save those fingers! Ironically enough, most people cut themselves with dull knives that get overworked and end up slipping on food you’re cutting that rather than sharp knives that just get the job done with little or no effort on your part. Let the knife do the work!

Choosing a good knife

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I love knives and I especially love a good multi-purpose knife that I can use for almost anything. In my opinion, all you need at home is a small pairing knife for the little projects like tourney-ing potatoes or peeling apples. But for most other daily culinary tasks a good, well-balanced chef’s knife is all you really need. I personally like Japanese-styled chef’s knives. With European-styled knives, the blunt end of the blade is just that, blunt and unusable. With Japanese chef’s knives, the blunt end is just as sharp as the tip of the knife, which makes the whole length of the knife blade practical. For example, the bunt end of a Japanese chef’s knife is great for taking pits out of fruits like avocado!

Another aspect in choosing the right knife is price point. Japanese knives do not come cheap. They can run into the thousands. That might seem crazy to you, but for all you tattooers out there, knives are our tattoo machines! You can find cheaper knives almost everywhere, quality is nice, but just keeping your knife sharp is more important. Especially if you are just cooking at home. The knife I am using right now is called Kiya. It is a Japanese brand that may be hard to find outside of Japan, so look for it on the internet.

I like sharpening stones. Electric sharpeners are expensive, and the ones you drag your knife through never work well for me. So I will be talking stones only today.

Types of sharpening stones

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diamond stone

The sharpening stone is very important. You want to have the right grade for what you are trying to accomplish and also for the type of metal/knife you have. There are four main types of stones: natural stones, artificial stones, Japanese wet stones, and diamond plate stones. They can either be used as whetstones or oilstones. Natural stones are pretty rare these days, the only known mine open for mining the good-quality stone is in Belgium I heard. Synthetic stones are generally equal quality to natural stones however, so do not fret- your knife will be fine!

Whetstones do not need oil or water to lubricate for sharpening but they are often used regardless. Oilstones should be used with oil (if you start using oil, do not switch to water with the same stone later) and oilstones are usually of finer grit. The coarser the grit, the more metal you will wear away from your knife but it is needed to get a really nice edge. Fine grits are usually used to just polish your knife at the end. I will elaborate later.

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whetstone

Japanese water stones are what I use. They are easy to store and I think oilstones are messy and are not good for the type of knives I use for work and at home. The only disadvantage to this stone is that it ‘wears away’ faster and you need to even out the stone from time-to-time. I usually wear it down on a piece of concrete until it is level again. And of course I wash it afterwards!

The fourth type of stone is the diamond plate stone. These tend to be more expensive as real diamond grit is used to make these stones but they are inferior in refining the edge of your knife compared to the other stones.

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oilstone

Stone grading is important. The rougher the grit, the duller your knife should be. To make it easy, I recommend three stones for your at-home sharpening. One medium grit stone, around grade 800, for getting that edge back or getting out any chips in the blade; and finer grit to really fine-tune your edge, around grade 1,000-2,000. If you want to polish your knife, anything grade 8,000 and up will do you right. If you cannot get all three stones, just get a two-sided stone with the grade 1,000 and 1,200. That is sort of an in between grit that will get your edge back and will refine the edge to a satisfactory sharpness. Also, you want to hone your knife after every use (it’s the stick sharpener that usually comes with a knife set). It cannot replace a stone, but it will keep your knife-edge aligned in between sharpenings.

Actually Sharpening Your Knife (using a Japanese water stone)

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Step 1 set up

If using a Japanese water stone, wet stone by leaving it submerged in water for about 15-20 minutes before using.

Set up your sharpening area by laying a kitchen towel down flat on a flat surface so the stone doesn’t slide around. Place the stone on the towel and have a bowl of water on-hand.

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Step 2 angle of the edge

Take the knife you want to sharpen in your right hand if you are right-handed (left if your not of course!) and dip the tip of the blade in the bowl of water and put a few drops on the stone. Then put the blade on the stone about 10-30 degrees perpendicular to the stone. The steeper the angle the longer your edge will last but the more level angles will give you a sharper edge (it just wont last as long).

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I usually use an angle more in the middle, but its up to you and the knife you have. If the knife comes with recommendations or directions, follow those by all means!

You can use an angle guide if you can find one, but otherwise you will need to keep your hands steady so you do not end up with a rounded edge.

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Step 3 sharpening commence

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Wet the stone with the drops of water and drag your knife with pressure from your other hand on the blade (fingers close to the edge of the blade) from blunt end to tip. Drag the blade from the bottom left corner of the stone in an arch to the bottom right corner of the stone. You should end up with the tip of the blade on the bottom right corner of the stone. It is important to keep the knife at the same angle throughout so go slow! For two-sided knives (which most knives are) you will need to do the same for the other side the same amount of times to keep the edge even. Just go from right bottom corner dragging in an arch formation to the bottom let corner.

Repeat these steps until you have the desired amount of sharpness to your knife. You can check the sharpness by running your thumb against the blade back and forth (left to right, not up and down!) and if the blade catches on your thumbprint indentations, your knife is sharp. If the blade glides smoothly across your thumb you should sharpen more!

Step 4 honing

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Hone your knife after you have finished sort of sets your knife and finishes up your sharpening. Using the same angle, slide the blade down and away from you on the honing steel. Do this on both sides of the blade with the same angle you used for the stone.

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Now you should have a nicely sharpened knife ready to do your culinary bidding!

Happy sharpening!

If you have a cooking tip, recipe or food tattoo you would like to share, email us at knivesandneedles@gmail.com!

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Thank you, enjoy!

Chris Brand

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Oh man, Chris is one of my favorite friend’s of my husbands. He is one of the most energetic and inspiring people you will ever meet. His positive energy radiates and immediately makes you feel at home wherever you are. He also happens to be one of the best tattooers out there these days.

Besides all that, Chris really loves food. He is a definite foodie and from what he says, one of the top foods on his list is ramen. Not just your average Top Ramen variety though. Chris is a real ramen man! Legend has it, Chris and his lady Jackie made a ramen tour of Japan a few years ago and ate so much ramen Jackie’s ankles swelled from all the sumptuous but sodium-laden broth that goes into the noodle soup, talk about commitment! Needless to say that cut Jackie’s part in the ramen tour short and in a show of solidarity Chris refrained from consuming more ramen as well, what a gentleman! Chris’s love for ramen has translated itself into his paintings/artwork and he has been gracious enough to let us all have a look-see!

Check them out below!

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Thanks for stopping by knives and needles blog! If you have any recipes or food tattoos you would like to share, please email us at knivesandneedlesblog.com!

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Have a great day and enjoy!

Tattoo Tuesday!

This week’s submission is brought to us by Myra Oh, an artist at Diadem Tattoo in Orange Park, FL.

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Myra says “Thanks for checking out my work! I did this tattoo a couple weeks ago on Jake Mott of Champagne, Illinois. He is quite the pizza fanatic and once ate nothing but pizza for 13 days straight! Thank you for the chance to be featured on your blog!”

Thank you, Myra! If you have done or have a food tattoo you’d like us to feature, please email a photo (along with backstory and artist credit) to knivesandneedles@gmail.com!

Hamilton Johnson

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Hamilton Johnson. Chef du Cuisine – Vidalia in DC

Interviewed by Michelle Roberts & Shawn Brown

It’s was a rainy spring afternoon in Washington, DC as Shawn and I headed to Chinatown to have a beer and chat with Hamilton Johnson, a native of Savannah Georgia and tattoo collector. He is also a very talented chef who runs the kitchen at Jeff Buben’s restaurant Vidalia, where in five years he has worked his way up from line cook to sous chef and is currently Chef du Cuisine.

MCR: So, Hamilton, how long have you been a chef? What got you into cooking?

HJ: I’ve been here 5 years, cooking since I was 18 ( thirteen years). I went to culinary school in Charleston. (South Carolina) Almost went to art school for drawing, but didn’t enroll. Fucked that up so I decided to cook instead. My dad and mom cooked, I could cook so I thought I could make money doing it. It was something I enjoyed.

SZB: So your parents cooking influenced you growing up?

HJ: Yeah, my dad cooked, he’s more southern, traditional and my mom is more experimental, so I kind of have a happy melody of both of them.

SZB : But you were going to go to art school first?

HJ: Yeah, I was going to enroll at SCAD, Savannah College of Art and Design, but decided not to at the last minute.

SZB: That’s pretty cool because cooking is an art form and its interesting that you were drawn to artistic things in general, eventually finding your way to cooking.

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MCR: Were you in Savannah before you came to DC or did you live somewhere in between?

HJ: I was in Charleston. I lived in Charleston for 9 years. I moved there for college and stayed.

SZB: What was you first experience in a restaurant?

HJ: I started in a fine dining restaurant, the best one in my hometown. I worked there for 3 or 4 months, just a summer job before I went to school. I wanted to have some kind of ground work instead of just walking in like, “Here I am”. I wanted to collect some knowledge and experience because I didn’t know shit. I talked to the chef, asked if I could come and work for the summer and learn a little before I went to school and he said yes.

MCR: Your first restaurant job was fine dining? That’s pretty cool. Were you working in the kitchen, what was your job?

HJ: I was a Garde Manger chef, which is cold sides. I made salads. Yeah, I learned a lot in those 3 months.

SZB: What was the hardest part?

HJ: I’d fuck up every day and I’d get reprimanded for it. I’d try to remember not to make the same mistake twice but…

SZB: How did you handle it, you know, getting screamed at the first couple of times?

HJ: Not to well. (Laughs) But it gave me an idea of what my future was, and what it was going to take to succeed.

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SZB: And now you know what to yell at people for!

HJ: I get to yell at people, but not too much though. It loses its merit after a while. I don’t want people to live in fear, I want them to do well because they want to do well, not because they fear what I’m going to say.

MCR: So, Charleston 9 years, then what brought you here to DC?

HJ: My friend moved here in about ’06 and he started working at Vidalia. He was like you gotta come check it out and I said I would. I’m small town so…I’d never lived in the city, never really been around the city for the most part. But, I said fuck it I’ll give it a shot. I came up to visit for about a week and they offered me a job. That was November of 07 and I moved here Aprils Fools Day of ’08.

SZB: Im sure that was exciting, moving to DC from a smaller town?

HJ: Yeah, right into the Petworth area too!

SZB: So you were a pioneer?

HJ: Yeah.

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MCR: Did you know what you were getting into?

HJ: I had no clue.

SZB: What did you think about living there?

HJ: I hated it.

MCR: Did you have any bad experiences while there?

HJ: Yeah, I got held up at gunpoint, dealt with people smoking crack on the back porch. I mean literally, our back porch. We’d have to chase them away with golf clubs. Initially, I was like, what the hell? What am I doing? But then I got used to it and would just walk home with you know, keys in my hand, ready. No one really messed with me except for the one time. I became aware of it all and was like, I don’t want to live like this, in fear, well, not fear but really I guess it was fear…

MCR: Like not having to watch your back all the time. At least not on your back porch!

HJ: Exactly. After I got held up I was walking from Petworth to the bar and the bus was coming up and I heard footsteps behind me. They kept getting louder and faster and the guy was just trying to catch the bus but I thought he was coming after me. I turned around and I’m ready to snatch him and be like “Dude, what the fuck?”

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SZB: When did you first get started getting tattooed?

HJ: 22.

SZB: Did you see tattoos as a child or what was it you saw or that made you want to get tattooed?

HJ: I was always intrigued by art I mean, being an artist. I remember telling my mom I wanted to get a tattoo and she said if I ever get a tattoo she was going to knock me out. I mean, she said it in the nicest way possible. I had always been interested in them. I had drawn tattoos for friends before I ever got tattooed. Then my mom passed away and I thought well, if I’m going to get a tattoo, I’m going to get one for my mom first so I got this one, the initials and the angel. Then, pretty much it all went to hell after that, haha. I love it. I love expressing myself. I love being different then the norm.

MCR: That was in Charleston?

HJ: No, that was in Savannah. A guest artist at Planet Earth tattoo.

SZB: I remember when I first met you you were getting the star collages with girl heads in them.

HJ: Yeah, I stopped and I kinda want to get back to that again. I think you were the last person to tattoo one.

MCR: Who did all those on your arm?

HJ: Shawn here, Dave (Calvacante), Nikki (Balls), Scotty (Milyanovich) from Tattoo Paradise. Tim Dennis from BlueGorilla in Charleston.

MCR: If you could get tattooed by anyone is there someone you really want to be tattooed by?

HJ: I’d like to just keep going with what I’m doing. I like to get tattooed by people I know like Shawn or Scotty or my friend Tim.

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MCR: And terms of cooking who is your biggest influence or who do you admire?

HJ: Pierre Gagnaire, a French chef. He is like 80 years old, old school French chef but new, he puts things together you’ve never seen, it’s amazing. He is one of the best.

SZB: How would you describe food at Vidalia?

HJ: American contemporary with a southern twist using French techniques. Pretty straight forward. We like to make what people like, say Chicken and Dumplings with a fine dining twist. Its refined but still familiar.

MCR: People can relate to the food.

HJ: Yeah, I mean you’ve got to think about the guest. You want the guests to be comfortable when they come in and eat. Lets say someone comes in on a date, you don’t want them to feel bad about having to ask the server “What is this?” If you don’t know something, whatever, it’s no big deal but some chefs don’t think about it the same way.

SZB: What about reality cooking shows, do you watch any of those?

HJ: Not really, I mean, I’ve watch some in the past. It’s something to pass the time.

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MCR: Do you think it’s helped your industry or hurt it? Do you think everybody is a critic now?

HJ: I think everybody’s more of a critic and I think it gives a false interpretation of what goes on in a kitchen.

SZB: I would say the same thing of the tattoo based reality shows.

HJ: It not awesome and wonderful everyday, some days it’s horrible. You’re not just a chef, you’re a plumber, you’re an electrician, you’re a therapist. It’s more than just cooking.

SZB: That is so interesting because that is exactly how I feel it is with my job as a tattooer.

MCR: Ok, do you have any ingredients you think no kitchen should be without? Or what ingredients are under or over used or appreciated.

HJ: I think pork is the most amazing thing in the world. Anything is good with pork. I think Lemons are very important. Acid. You can always squeeze a little lemon on anything. If something is too salty squeeze a little lemon on it it will tone the salt down. And of course Lemon zest. I also like vinegars. There are a lot types of great vinegars. You can make them too, tomato vinegar, strawberry vinegar. As far as overused, I’m trying to think. I’m tired of burger trends. I just want a good burger. I’m kind of over the whole molecular gastronomy thing. It has it’s time and place but if it doesn’t add anything to the dish, why do it? Just because it looks cool? What if it looks cool but tastes like shit?

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MCR: Where do you see yourself in 10 / 20 years? Do you plan on staying in the area?

HJ: I don’t know. Whatever happens. I have no set agenda. I know I want to own my own place, a 30 or 40 seat restaurant. Not really a tasting menu but you know, you get what you get, whatever I’m serving . Right now I’m just going along for the ride, enjoying what I’m doing. Whatever happens, happens.

Hamilton was generous enough to share a mouth-watering recipe, try it out!

Hamilton’s Oyster Stew

SERVES 6

6 TBSP BUTTER

2 TBSP SHALLOTS, PEELED, AND MINCED

1 EACH FRESH BAY LEAF

1/2 TSP FRESH THYME

1/2 CUP WHITE WINE

1 CUP MILK

2 CUPS HEAVY CREAM

1 PINT SHELLED OYSTERS WITH THEIR LIQUOR (DRAIN THE LIQUOR, KEEP SEPARATE)

1/2 CUP KABOCHA SQUASH, BLANCHED AND CUT IN SMALL CUBES

1 CUP SWISS CHARD, WASHED AND CHOPPED

GARNISH

1 PART OLD BAY SEASONING

1/4 PART CAYENNE PEPPER

1 PART SWEET PAPRIKA

In a medium saucepot over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter, add minced shallots and cook for 2 minutes until translucent. Add the bay leaf and fresh thyme, deglaze with white wine and reduce by half. Add milk, heavy cream (you may use all milk or all cream if desired) and add any oyster liquor. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to keep hot.

In a separate saucepot melt 3 tablespoons of butter and add the kabocha squash, swiss chard and oysters. Cook until edges of oysters begin to curl. Pour hot cream over oysters, season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Mix together the old bay seasoning, cayenne pepper and sweet paprika. Sprinkle on top of the bowl of stew.

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